student singing and playing guitar for three children

Music Therapy

Bachelor of Music


Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Board-certified music therapists (MT-BCs) work in medical, psychiatric, and educational settings to help clients improve psychological and physiological functioning.

The degree program at Nazareth University, approved by the American Music Therapy Association, offers several advantages, including the performance opportunities of other music majors:

  • You will take four years of hour-long lessons and give a senior recital in your primary performance area.
  • You can perform in honors recitals, compete in concerto and aria contests, and perform with multiple ensembles.
  • Your clinical training — which begins with observations in your freshman year — will include a board-certified music therapist as a supervisor at every session throughout your four years. You will get experience conducting sessions in community health care and education settings and in our state-of-the-art Music Therapy Clinic, part of Nazareth's York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute. The York Institute houses clinics in many therapeutic disciplines, which allows every student the chance to co-treat with students and supervisors from other professions.

Very few programs in the country provide these expansive opportunities.


  • You will gain clinical practice skills through musical proficiency, research, and direct clinical experience, studying the impact of melody, harmony, and rhythm on children and adults with physical, communication, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.
  • Aside from your primary instrument, you will study piano, guitar, and percussion and learn to perform, improvise, and compose music for therapy.
  • Work with people with special needs in Ecuador, do social outreach through music in South Africa, Uganda, and more.

  • Choose to enrich your experience through 70+ study abroad options, including Austria and Italy or Sweden for music therapy.
  • Benefit from top-notch facilities. The clinics for music therapy and other allied health professions were recently renovated. Also, Nazareth's 550-seat Glazer Music Performance Center opened in 2018. The state-of-the-art building is designed to provide excellent acoustics for large instrumental and vocal ensembles, to integrate multimedia collaborations, and to enable live recording.
  • Completing the curriculum and clinical training, including the 6-month internship in the "ninth semester," makes you eligible to sit for the national certification examination in music therapy administered by the Certification Board of Music Therapists. Successfully completing the exam provides you the board certification credential (MT-BC).
  • With the MT-BC, you can work in a variety of clinical settings or you can pursue graduate school for advanced practice in music therapy or for a related field such as social work, special education, or neuroscience.

See answers to frequently asked questions.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Nazareth University curriculum is designed to help students complete the AMTA-approved bachelor’s and master’s degree in Music Therapy. Additionally, the master’s program meets educational requirements in New York to apply for a licensure as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist.

Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy, students are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified) which is necessary for professional practice. The credential MT-BC is granted by a separate, accredited organization, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).

Nazareth University cannot determine whether completion of the master’s degree in Music Therapy meets educational requirements to apply for licensure as a music therapist in other states.

For questions regarding the undergraduate program, please contact Laurie Keough, M.S.Ed, LCAT, MT-BC at

Music Therapy at Naz

    How to Audition

    Auditions are required for this major. View audition details and register.

    Fully immersed

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    Perform on stage in recitals and with multiple ensembles

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    Gain clinical skills in the York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute on campus.

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    Study abroad options in South America, Europe, and Africa.

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    Learn piano, guitar, and percussion, along with your primary instrument

    Example internships/field experiences

    • Strong Memorial Hospital
    • Hospice Buffalo
    • The Wildwood School, VA


    Unique to Nazareth, our SPARK Grant provides $1,500 for you to pursue internships, research, and study abroad, plus up to $2,500 in a tuition scholarship for summer SPARK-eligible experiences that earn credit. SPARK stories »

    student playing guitar for child in hospital
    close up of an acoustic guitar
    student teaching child to play drums

    Your life's work


    • School music therapist
    • Gerontology specialist
    • Mental health clinician
    • Medical music therapist


    • Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital
    • West Palm Beach Hospice
    • Saint Barnabas Medical Center, NJ
    • Giant Steps Autism Treatment, CT

    Graduate schools

    • Drexel University
    • Florida State University
    Jessica Jarvis, alumna of the music therapy major, music therapy degree program at Nazareth College

    Alumni Spotlight

    Jessica Jarvis ‘11 

    A six-month internship at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, led to a full-time job there for Jessica Jarvis (left) as one of three board-certified music therapists. In a Texas Medical Center story, Jarvis said, "To see the joy in a mom’s eyes when her child gets up and walks for the first time because it’s easier with music as a stimulation and motivation… I see music therapy making a real difference in my patients." Jarvis went on for a doctorate in rehabilitation sciences, to advance research in the field, including testing music therapy intervention in pediatric intensive care.